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I am trying to figure out if my plans for a computer desk setup would work. What I want to do is build a backboard that would be attached only to my desk and have it support 3 monitors (<16KG) using a wall mount for them. The desk itself is 2 Alex(36x70cm) Drawers and a Karlby(186x3.8cm) from Ikea. My biggest problem is that since I am in a rented apartment I cannot drill into or damage the walls in any way. I was planning on using lumber to make the frame that would be attached to the 2 alex drawers and backboard on the back and the plywood would also be supported by heavy duty L-brackets on the front left and right.

Will this work? Or is drilling into the walls the only option.

Here are a few rough sketches of what I think this would need to look like to support the weight.

  • Side and Front View:enter image description here
  • Back View:enter image description here

Any advice would be much appreciated.

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  • What type of monitor, wall mount or desktop stand?
    – r13
    Jul 9 at 17:24
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    monitor stand with arms work pretty well, are much cheaper, and can be mounted much faster.
    – gbronner
    Jul 9 at 17:44
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  • Thanks for your replies, the idea, which i should have mentioned in my post was to have a clean looking setup, no visible cables/monitor arms/poles etc. So wall mounting is a must.
    – Ethan
    Jul 9 at 19:39
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Your plan should work quite well assuming you do not mount your monitors too high and make it all top-heavy. I also assume this will be pushed up against a wall so that it cannot easily fall backwards either.

Your design is a much sturdier version of the common computer desk with hutch of yesteryear.

enter image description here

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The structural question is: what will provide support for the moment-force of the monitors hanging off the backboard?

You can provide torque support for upper back-panel, by means of

  1. side panels as in "yesteryear's" computer desk (see other answer), or
  2. lumber behind the back-panel, as you propose

Lumber "on edge"

To provide the most stiffness for the least amount lumber behind the panel, place the lumber "sideways" so that it bares the load "on edge". This will cost you a few extra inches in depth, but provide the best support.

In fact, if you were in North America, and were allowed to screw into the wall, the monitors would be supported by 2x4 (or 2x3) studs in the wall, with the load attached into the short side, or edge, of the stud.

One difference with your case is, of course, that wall studs are anchored into the rest of the framing, at the top and and bottom. In your case there is no anchoring, but you do provide bracing from the lower cabinets.

Size of support lumber

A "2x4" stud is about 3.8 wide on the thin side, where you will screw the backboard and the monitor shelf or hanging hardware into. And it is about 8.9cm deep. From experience this works, so if buying lumber (in metric or as NA lumber) you can start with this as a baseline dimension.

In stead of dimensional lumber, as the 2x4 or 2x3 is called, you can also cut several strips of left-over plywood to provide that lateral strength, and attach it, again on edge, with glue & nails/screws to the back of the back panel.

Centre of Gravity

As long as the center of gravity from the monitors is well behind the front of the lower cabinets (which it will likely easily be), and the backing lumber (on edge) provides sufficient stiffness, you should be fine.

The front brackets you propose are not necessary, and will not be able to provide the required moment-force support anyway.

Seismic Provisions

If you live in a seismically active area, you could still attach the back panel at one or two points into the back wall, as you would do this with any shelving unit or book rack. This anchoring does not bare a load, and can be a relatively small bracket since all it does is prevent tipping from shake.

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  • Thank you for your detailed response. With the info youve provided I'm a lot more confident that my approach will workout. Cheers
    – Ethan
    Jul 9 at 19:51
  • @Ethan thank you for the feedback, and good luck. Welcome to Home Improvement DIY. Also, please take the tour
    – P2000
    Jul 9 at 20:12
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If the backboard's only purpose is to mount monitors, there are other solutions. I have Adjustable Gas Spring Monitor Arms that you can clamp to the back of the desk, or even put a mounting hole in the back of the desk instead of clamping. The one I use supports 2 monitors and extends up to 24" from the mount (ends up about 18" from the back with 2 monitors). I would recommend getting 3 of the single arms, instead of getting a single one with 3 arms, as they all pivot from the same point and it limits the distance and movement having so many on one mount (basically arm distance gets used diagonally if you get a combo). The wires get run inside the underside of the arm, hiding them from view.

enter image description here

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I think this is all you need to do after getting a wall mount monitor.

Build wood frames with studs enclose the monitor (similar to building a window frame), place plywood backboard, and attach the monitor to the board using the mounting hardware shown. Now everything will be hidden behind, and you don't need to worry about overturning since the offset is such small.

enter image description here

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